Can Foundation Cracks Reveal What’s Wrong with My Foundation?

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Like every curious homeowner in Springfield, MO, you could be wondering what causes cracks and whether they’re behind your unstable foundation. The answer isn’t a definite, yes. Cracks develop over time. By the time you’re seeing them, they could be at least several months or a couple of years old.

foundation crack in my wall

Some people view cracks as clues. In other words, cracks direct them to the source of the foundation problems. Many times, this is nothing more than a misconception. And it’s as a result of ignorance or misinformation. You need to understand how cracks develop and what you can do so they won’t destabilize your home’s foundation.

What Causes Foundation Cracks?

A good place to start with is what triggers foundation problems. The major culprit is water. Excess water makes the soil swell, while lack of it causes the underlying soil to shrink. Both scenarios can pose problems to the foundation. However, water isn’t the only thing that can cause your foundation to fail.

  • Improperly constructed foundation: Whether it’s inferior concrete in insufficient amounts or low-grade steel, substandard construction leads to a weak foundation. Your foundation may become susceptible to settling or sinking.
  • Insufficient ground preparation: Cracks can also form when a home is built on low-density soils or poorly compacted soil.
  • Natural sinkhole formation: Sinkholes occur when underground water erodes underlying rock layers, leading to the formation of caverns.
  • Soil erosion: Improper drainage can cause the soil to get saturated by water, leading to erosion. This sets the stage for foundational problems in your home.

Can Cracks Point to a Problem?

In most cases, yes. You can almost tell what’s ailing your home’s foundation by looking at the size and nature of cracks. If a crack starts to widen at one end, you should be worried. Investigate any crack that’s wider than ½ inch. Hairline cracks shouldn’t worry you, as they pose no immediate structural risks unless they widen to half an inch or more. Such cracks start at a 90-degree offset corner and spread into the room. 

However, you can’t just rely on crack patterns alone when inspecting the foundation. You have to consider other factors like the condition of the site, building history, and seek evidence of home movements plus damage to determine whether the cracks are serious or not.

Best Solutions for Foundation Cracks

Depending on the nature and severity of the cracks, your local foundation repair contractor can apply one or more of these trusted foundation repair solutions.

  • Wall anchors — Made of heavy-duty steel, these structures are inserted into the stable soil and tied to steel wall plates using steel rods to stabilize the foundational wall.
  • Intellijack™ — We use this to stabilize and potentially lift sinking floors above the crawl space or basement. They’re five times stronger than standard grade support jacks.
  • Push piers — We install them deep into the soil strata to stabilize the foundation and possibly lift up your home to its original level after soil settlement.
  • Helical piers — These steel shafts provide extra support to settling foundations. They’re often screwed right into the ground and can lift your home to its original position.
  • Carbon Fiber Wall Reinforcement System — An affordable and strong solution, carbon fiber is useful in repairing bowed and cracked basement walls
  • Intellibrace™ System — This patented solution repairs failing walls. We usually attach it to the joists and flooring system using special brackets to ease the pressure on underlying structures.

Not sure what solution to apply? Your number one priority should be to keep water out of the foundation, as it’s the major cause of problems. A water-free and healthy foundation is both safe and structurally sound. 

Foundation Care Tips

Let’s look at things you can do to protect and maintain the structural integrity of your home’s foundation.

  • Inspect your home’s interior and exterior while paying special attention to your plumbing. 
  • Cut down any huge tree that stands right next to your home as it can destabilize the foundation. 
  • Ensure the ground elevation around your yard is uniform and is at least 3-4 inches below the slab. 
  • Maintain a constant internal temperature to prevent expansion and contraction of the slab. 
  • Keep soil moisture levels consistent around your home. 
  • Leave the soil to settle before you build your home. 
  • Remove any standing water close to your home’s foundation and ensure drainage flows away.

Take the next step For fast, thorough, and hassle-free foundation repairs in Springfield, MO, get in touch with Foundation Recovery Systems. We have robust solutions for bowing and/or cracking walls. Schedule a free foundation repair inspection and find out the severity of your cracks and the best way to fix them.